At the Kentucky Derby last weekend, some horsies ran around in a circle and one of them was faster than the others. That horse, named Maximum Security, got in trouble for blocking some of its competitors, even though it might have just slipped out of position due to the muddiness of the track. Maximum Security had its title stripped and given to the second-fastest horse, whose name is Country House (cue the Blur jokes ).
If you watch this video of the incident, it’s clear that some stuff happened, and that people who know stuff about horse racing were pretty sure that it violated the rules, even if the stuff that happened was unintentional on the part of the jockey. But, hey. As Kurtis Blow once said, them’s the breaks.
The disqualification of the first-place finisher — something that hasn’t happened since 1968, when Dancer’s Image had its title stripped due to a positive steroid test — would have gone down simply as an interesting event in the sport’s history had Donald Trump not decided to take time off from a busy weekend full of retweeting Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller website to announce, “The Kentucky Derby decision was not a good one.”
Presidents weighing in on sports stuff is by no means new: Richard Nixon, for example, once drew up a play for the Miami Dolphins which they ended up running in a 1972 Super Bowl loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Trump obviously has many, many thoughts about which athletes he considers friends (Tiger Woods, with whom he is close, and the Clemson Tigers, to whom he fed hamberders ) and which he considers enemies (Colin Kaepernick, any championship sports team that refuses to visit the White House, etc.). As with all Trump tweets worth their own blog post, his Derby tweets got crazier. He continued, “Only in the days of political correctness could such an overturn occur. The best horse did NOT win the Kentucky Derby — not even close!”
The Kentucky Derby decision was not a good one. It was a rough & tumble race on a wet and sloppy track, actually, a beautiful thing to watch. Only in these days of political correctness could such an overturn occur. The best horse did NOT win the Kentucky Derby - not even close!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 5, 2019
A truly astonishing collection of words, even by the standards of our pudding-brain president. What did political correctness have to do with it? Was the horse “canceled” because someone unearthed problematic My Little Pony erotica it wrote back in 2010? Nay. Or, rather: Neigh.
When I initially saw the tweet, I assumed that the owners of Maximum Security, AKA the extremely cheating-ass horse, were huge Trump donors and Trump was jumping to their defense. However, after a quick Googling, I discovered that they’re just a pleasant older couple named Mary and Gary West who run a health care nonprofit that gives grants to people trying to extend the lives of seniors. So if Trump isn’t caping for Mary and Gary, why is he mad online?
Just so we’re clear on our terms, Donald Trump loosely defines “political correctness” as what causes people to call out Donald Trump and/or his supporters when he or they do something that’s self-evidently racist/sexist/homophobic etc. Where Donald Trump and the rest of us differ, however, is that on one hand, we would view this version of political correctness is another way of saying, “Follow the Golden Rule, please!”; on the other, Trump would say that such restrictions of personal conduct are infringing upon the freedoms of racists/sexists/homophobes etc., and since those people (or the most flagrant of their ilk, at least) like Donald Trump, this is a global security issue that’s a way bigger deal than, like, the rise of Isis in the Philippines.
So what is Donald Trump trying to say here? That because creepy blowhard actor James Woods got put in Twitter Jail for doing stuff like posting dogwhistle-y “The Irish Were Slaves Too” memes and straight-up advocating for violence against minorities, officials at a horse race had to… follow the pre-established rules of horse racing? Instead, it seems that Trump is genuinely convinced that because people don’t slink away when his supporters say and do hateful shit, we live in such a rules-oriented culture that we can’t let rowdy horses bump into each other on a muddy racetrack.
Maybe Trump thinks that all the people who attend the Kentucky Derby so they can drink mint juleps while wearing ridiculous suits and silly hats are the same salt-of-the-earth, blue-collar Americans who he claims to represent. Maybe this is Trump taking a “yeehaw turn” along with the rest of popular culture. Maybe Trump’s brain is broken and it always has been. Maybe Donald Trump would be happier if he got to sit in a rope swing next to a paddock and watch horsies frolic all day while James Woods sits on the ground next to him and tells him about the discrimination he faced as the only conservative castmember of the Disney animated film Hercules (1996). Maybe his Netflix algorithm fed him an episode of Bojack Horseman and he now thinks that all horses can talk and he’s worried that the horse will testify in front of Congress.
Maybe he means, in a galaxy-brain kind of way, that “political correctness” has created a facade we can all hide behind and not think about how horse racing is an elitist pastime that condones cruelty to animals and is in general pretty fucked-up? Only God knows, and He isn’t gonna say shit about it because He probably doesn’t want Trump to send a Twitter mob His way.